103 train wrecks handout - FNR 103 Introduction to...

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FNR 103 Introduction to Environmental Conservation ENVIRONMENTAL TRAIN WRECKS The term “environmental train wrecks” was coined by Bruce Babbitt, the former Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton Administration. The term refers to complex situations involving environmental problems where the issues involved are so controversial that the problem festers until a crisis has arisen. The “train wreck” analogy is deliberate - if two trains are on the same track, one can avert a tragedy if the situation is dealt with quickly before the trains get close to each other. If you wait too late, you have a tremendous mess. Examples : 1. Spotted Owls . This example will be discussed in detail in class. The Spotted Owl is one of the most famous species covered by the Endangered Species Act. This species occurs in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, northern California) where Spotted Owls are restricted to old-growth forests of Douglas fir, giant redwoods, and other massive trees. The conflict has to do with habitat loss due to timber harvest . We have cut all but 7% of the old growth forest in the USA. The Spotted Owl is not valuable in its own right – no products come from it. It is a symbol of the old growth forest conditions. Initially, the timber industry developed publicity campaigns to tell the public why it was important from the industry’s standpoint to keep cutting the older forest. The industry was able to frame the public debate as one of “jobs versus owls.” Move forward to the later 1980s when two other declining species were added to the mix. The Marbled Murrelet is a bird that is a relative of the puffin, and lives along the coastlines of Pacific Northwest. They nest on tree branches of very old trees. Salmon
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This note was uploaded on 02/26/2012 for the course FNR 103 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.

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103 train wrecks handout - FNR 103 Introduction to...

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